It sets the way the art of copywriting unfolds, for, when you read his book, you cannot help but paint it as art.
Read the following ad as it is written in the book.
“The University of the Night”
The young Lincoln, pouring over-borrowed school-books far into the night – seeking in the dim light of knowledge – eager to grow – eager to do … here is an example that has inspired the man who strives against the odds of circumstances to take his place in the world.
To-night, in cities and towns and villages … thousands of men will drop their daily labors to fight, beneath the lamp, the battle that Lincoln fought …
Up from the mines, down from the masts of ships … from all the places where men work, they will go home and take up their books because they yearn to grow because they seek higher training, greater skill, more responsibility…
Some of them are men who work in one field whereas their talents and desires are in another. Some…are halted in their progress because they do not understand the higher principles of their business or profession. Some left school in boyhood because poverty made it necessary…
Fifty years ago these men…would have had no place to turn for the courses of study and for the personal guidance they need.
Thirty years ago there was founded a school to help them-a a school created for their needs and circumstances – a school that goes to them no matter where they are-a a school…
Created in response to a need, the International Correspondence Schools have developed their scope and usefulness to the growth of that need…”
You cannot but love the idea that each ad must be treated as a new project, where the only recipe to make it work is through innovation.
Eugene is against magic words, which attract audiences, and professes repeated and continuous innovation, new and fresh ideas, new solutions to new challenges instead of old solutions to new challenges.
Eugene Schwartz explains, like no other, the importance of the awareness stage your market is in and how you should first consider the market in order to understand the way you should approach and design your copy. Only after you have understood this step, and only after, you can move on to your product.
Understanding the distinction between what your product is and what it does for people is crucial. Pointing out the way your product is used, given the desires and interests of the market you are writing for, given the stage of awareness of the market.
Bringing the market and the product together is the end result
No desire can be planted in the human mind but channeled towards something that could benefit your customer’s life.
The logic is flawless. There are no random words, no random order, there is only a logical flow of principles, thoughts and words brought together that cannot be designed in any other way but the one described by him.
All the copywriting books I have read point to one important aspect: do not confuse writing copy with any other type of writing!
There are rules and you should take them into consideration if you want to achieve valuable copy. There are some, yet not many, who advise on knowing the rules by heart, for, in order for you to break the rules, you must know what the rules are in the first place.
Even the word rules tend to take the genius out of it. Learn the rules, as in any game, but try and apply them putting your own twist to them, going beyond the surface, and exploring each ad as if it were a new adventure and let the magic happen.
A lot of the great copywriters talk about using what has worked, what the great men before them did, yet, every project should be considered as new. In order to combine Eugene Schartz with other perspectives, we should consider James Webb Young‘s technique for “producing new ideas“ that gives us an unexpected result from already proven possibilities; the key being that of rearranging and reorganizing the material.
Writing literature or content writing is completely different from writing copy, yet, you cannot help but wonder what Eugene’s strategy was when you read the examples of copy and walk along his steps to understand the process of making it great. You cannot deny the fact that you are reading a short fairy tale of that product. The ads are so fascinating, you cannot describe in words. You can only read and marvel at their genius.
At the core of everything he did, Eugene placed the highest importance in the market, the customers, the people buying and using whatever products or services are being promoted. Knowing everything about them should be the first on the list of priorities not only to copywriters but to entrepreneurs alike.
If there is one thing that you can do in order to succeed in business, no matter where you are in the world, is to put your customers first. Knowing what your audience wants and helps them get it has been “overstressed” by Brain Kurtz, a famous marketer whose success cannot be denied. In his book “Overdeliver“, the importance of knowing your customers and providing them with the best possible service is pointed out at every turn.
“Breakthrough Advertising” should be read not only by copywriters, who take their roles seriously but also by marketing people and by anyone who wishes to build something lasting, of value, to himself and others.
Eugene himself insists on pointing out the difference between writing copy and writing literature in one of his seminars on copywriting and yet… I wonder if he went further just as Oscar Wilde put it in his novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, where he masterfully wrote that “Art should reveal art and conceal the artist”. Eugene designs the ads beautifully, bringing people and benefits together, showing that there is no other way to go but his, while, at the same time, giving you the “freedom” to make up your own mind.
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- It's a very useful book for marketing professionals
- It cIt's extremely helpful for companies promoting their products and services
- It's an interesting read for regular Joe to capture a different perspective regarding the promotion of a product
- It needs more than one reading to fully understand the teachings
- Every page is full of innovative ideas